Here's that odd looking power cord again, the one I can't get enough of...it's the Isotek Syncro, a very potent cable that is the upgrade for the Aquarius and Sigma 6 outlet power conditioners. Both power conditioners come with Isotek's Premier C19 cord. This strange beauty, also a C19 type only, is one of the most mesmerizing things I've plugged into a box. The Aquarius is $1995, the Sigma $3995, and this pipe bomb of a power cord is $2195. The Syncro takes everything in your system that's plugged into one of the conditioners several levels higher, meaning it becomes a sit down and listen now moment. I know, I know, silly me has gone off the limb again....crawled out into Enid Lumley land again, bless her heart! But no, it merely takes a listen. No witchcraft, voodoo, aluminum foil ala Belt, nothing but wonderfully engineered British power, clean power so that more music is revealed. Come have a sit down...and I won't even have to say no talking!
if you have a speaker in the mid to low 80 db efficiency, you need to hear this VTL ST 150 amp. In Triode mode it'll deliver 70 watts, in Tetrode mode it hammers out 150 tube watts. VTL has a way of making a high current amp sound dynamic, with flesh and bones to the instruments. I've not been a fan of many 6550 based amps, always being a little thin, same with most KT120 and KT150's, yet VTL got it right with this one. At $6000, it's a bargain for what you get. I hope to one day soon have the 185 mono amps here, the big boys with EL34 output tubes. I've heard them many times and always think, hmm, what do I have to sell to get those? Schedule an appointment, the ST 150 is presently driving the new Treo CT's in Studio B. Remember what your teacher told you.... "A speaker will only do what an amp tells it to". This combo is talking to me....come hear if it talks to you.....Paired with either the VTL 2.5i or Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamps.
The ever popular, always in demand, Leben 600 integrated and Leben RS30 moving magnet phono stage. Couple these two with a speaker they like, and the dance begins. Like any partner, chose carefully and you'll be happy for life. Add a moving magnet cartridge like the Well Tempered Lab TLC, or add a phono transformer like the Auditorium step up and use the EMT TSD15 moving coil, or grab for the brass ring and add the Dynavector SUP step up with a higher level Dynavector moving coil, or skip right in to heaven and add the Auditorium Hommage T2 step up with the world's greatest cartridges, the Dynavector 1t and EMT JSD S75. Other than that you'll have to go hear live music!
Generally, once you place an order with me things go fairly quick. I get confirmation of the order, I tell you when it's shipping, etc. Most of these companies are not the big palette warehoused products that are online, although most do get here in a very timely manner. Some, like Leben, are pretty much built to order these days, and so an order goes in, we get in their queue, and sometimes it can be actual days and sometimes it can be months. There is a working staff of four who build for the entire world, and demand is high. My last Leben RS30 phono stage came in 3 days, the last Leben 600 integrated I ordered took 3 months, one took 4.
Now no one frets over waiting for your order more than you know who, and you know who's helper.....seen here waiting for her UPS man....we do have a gal on Saturdays, now that UPS has Saturday home deliveries. So never fear, I and Gertie will alert you as soon as we know something.
Always something going on around here....new speakers, new amps, new cartridges, new new new! The good news is that it's always for the better, never a step back. I encourage you to write or call, I don't always get a chance to post on here, not from lack of time, but my stupid home internet is sometimes on the fritz when I'm ready to say something....although a wise man once said nothing - guess that leaves me out.
as you can see, I finally got in the factory stands for the Falcon LS3/5a's, and if I was a fanboy before, I am over the moon now for them... of course, as many of you were wondering, I am still a huge fan of the DeVore 3XL's, giving a bigger sound than the Falcons, and a bit bigger bass. But hey, it's always matching a speaker to a given sized room, so now I have something for everyone. The new Falcon stands allow the speaker to really strut its stuff, going lower, even more superb transparency, and just giving more smiles. The Skylan stands I had been using were okay, just okay, the Falcon stands are super.
Also in the new column, Santa brought me an early gift, the newish Vandersteen Treo CT's, the carbon tweeter version of the Treos. At $8400, same price as the DeVore 0/93's, I am as torn as Solomon as to which I like better. The CT's are astoundingly good, and I've got just the amps here to show them to their best. Some of you may remember how impressed I was by them at the Axpona show a few years back. Then unfortunately, the same dealer showed them last year and they blew, just nothing like the earlier show. So as I lecture, cajole, nudge, carp, and generally badger about using the right gear with the right speaker, in the right room, it pays to pay attention, and also support someone who has worked it all out so you can decide on the final decision. I told a friend that I sometimes feel like an old shoe seller, who finds the right shoe for the right foot, and not only offers one great one, but sometimes several, and then leave it to you to decide. I know, me and my bad analogies. Well, at least that one didn't center on food, as per usual. Although I will say many of you are eating McDonalds, and I want you to be eating Shake Shack. Trouble is, until you come and visit me, many of you don't know that what you've been eating is not worth the trouble. So yes, come hear these Treo CT"s. They have so much heart now, so much more emotion, I think you'll become a believer as well. I simply cannot quit playing them.
Hey, a dealer is supposed to have many loves. You can be envious. Just remember, bitter ones that some of you are, that I have paid dearly for all my loves, so I can share them with you. I don't want you buying something you'll be tired of within several months, like many of those online purchases you've made. There's great value in buying something right the first time, and enjoying it for years. When you buy a pair of 0/93's or now the Treo CT's from me, you'll have all the knowledge you need to get the best out of them. Schedule an appointment for a listen, you'll be so glad you did...(usually) Have a great day! and I can say without hesitation, if you were listening to any of the three speakers mentioned above you would be!
More attention is given to amps and speakers than all the other pieces in a hifi system. So to rectify that, in the next several installments I'll be covering some of the other gems that sparkle here that pull those amp and speaker combos together.
To me, regardless of the amp/speaker chosen, it's always about the source. "Source first" we learned from the Brits early on, at least a few of us did. If you've heard me mention that a thousand times already, get ready for a thousand more. It's important! I often go into someone's listening room after endless debate over their amp or speaker, only to find the most mediocre source, which they deem suitable. What's a dealer to do? Tell them their so and so DAC is boring, their cartridge just plain misses the mark, the turntable is dragging down the music? And their racks? Their racks??? Egads, not the endless bad, boring, homemade, custom made by a carpenter friend racks?
So I'm here to educate, stimulate, and sometimes pontificate about the other devices that make up a system. Lordy knows you need to get that certain speaker that drives you wild, at least for the foreseeable future, and that magic amp that can drive said speaker to tantalizing heights. Without all the other, equally important pieces, you ain't heard nothing yet....(and I don't care what you say!) Bam!
On with the show.....
I'd like to start with a newer cartridge to the Haven, the Kauri, a low output moving coil offered by Well Tempered Labs. It's obviously not made by them, and no one seems to be saying who actually does manufacture it, yet I'm glad somebody is. It's delightfully full bodied sounding, perhaps it's the ancient driftwood said to make up the body. An excellent tracker as well, the Kauri, at $2000, is in steep competition here at the Haven, alongside the EMT TSD15 at $1950 and the Dynavector XX2 Mk2 at $1995. These three cartridges are my favorites at this price range, and are a formidable trio to the market as a whole. They're not tizzy, thin, flat, or boring, as I find so many. Again, with all cartridges, it's all in how you use them- the table/arm, the phono stage, a step up if you're lucky to have one, all have to work in perfect harmony to get the most out of the cartridge. And last but not least, the setup, which you get here upon purchase.
Auralic has discontinued the award winning Aries Mini from their line-up- sad, but true. I still have 2, yes, 2 new in box units, plus 1 new in box EPS (external power supply) normally $500 and $300 respectively. Haven special- Mini $375 EPS $225 while they last.....
You can read many many glowing reviews about this piece. Look at John Darko, Michael Lavorgna's Audiostream. I really liked this unit, coupled with its matching power supply. One could use it as a streamer, yes, it does Tidal ( although not MQA), has a built in DAC so could be used as all in one, could add a hard drive and give it storage. It continually blew away most of the competition anywhere near its price. I suppose since it's been on the market for quite a while something may or will take it's place. We'll see. Anyway, highly recommended, and hurry while they last. Apparently since I had stocked up since I was selling so many, I'm now one of the only ones around who has these....